The effect of magnesium sulfate on maternal retinal blood flow in preeclampsia: A randomized placebo-controlled study

Michael A. Belfort, George R. Saade, Kenneth J. Moise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Our purpose was to determine the effect of a 6 gm intravenous bolus of magnesium sulfate on maternal retinal blood flow velocity waveforms in patients with preeclampsia. STUDY DESIGN: Twenty-two patients were randomized to two groups and were studied with color flow Doppler before and immediately after infusion of either 6 gm of magnesium sulfate or placebo. The central retinal and posterior ciliary arteries were studied. RESULTS: Magnesium sulfate significantly reduced the pulsatility index (p < 0.005) in both vessels (change in pulsatility index = -0.26 ± 0.23 for central retinal and -0.22 ± 0.15 for posterior ciliary) when compared with placebo (change in pulsatility index = 0.02 ± 0.10 for central retinal and -0.03 ± 0.09 for posterior ciliary). CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that magnesium sulfate dilates the vessels distal to the central retinal and posterior ciliary arteries. Changes in pulsatility index in the retinal arteries may be indicative of similar changes in other cerebral vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1548-1553
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes



  • Magnesium sulfate
  • preeclampsia
  • retinal blood flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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